United States President Barack Obama has extended his greetings on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.

In a statement, he said: “On Sunday, many around the world will observe the anniversary of birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji...I send my best wishes to all those observing this extraordinary occasion.”

Mr. Obama also said that this was an occasion to recognise the contributions of Sikh Americans in the U.S. and to reflect on the pluralism that was a hallmark of America. He said: “Sikhism's principles of equality, service, interfaith cooperation and respect are principles shared by all Americans.”

Underscoring a more universal message embodied in Sikhism, he said that as Sikhs celebrated the birth of Guru Nanak, “people of goodwill everywhere can identify with his teachings on the equality of all humankind and the need for compassion in our service to others.”